After spending months on the notoriously intimidating and difficult Ranger Course, 96 students met all the requirements to graduate, including two women. During a graduation ceremony on Fort Benning on Friday, Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver will be the first women allowed to graduate from the Army’s prestigious Ranger School.
Griest is a military police officer from Orange, Conn., and Haver is an Apache helicopter pilot from Copperas Cove, Texas. Both women are in their twenties and West Point graduates, according to the Washington Post.
Women were not permitted to participate in Ranger School until April, The Washington Posts reports. During training, the U.S. Army says students are pushed to their mental and physical limits, forced to operate on minimal food and sleep. At least 34 percent of students recycle (or redo) at least one phase, including both female graduates and a handful of male graduates, which adds to their physical and mental fatigue. The 62-day course turned into over 120 days in the program for Griest and Harver, who started as a group of 19 females.
Here are some of the things the U.S. army says students go through:
During the course, students learn how to operate in three different environments: woodlands in Fort Benning, mountainous terrain in Dahlonega, Georgia, and coastal swamp in Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Highlights of the course include a physical fitness test consisting of 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, a five-mile run in 40 minutes, and six chin-ups; a swim test; a land navigation test; a 12-mile foot march in three hours; several obstacle courses; four days of military mountaineering; three parachute jumps; four air assaults on helicopters; multiple rubber boat movements; and 27 days of mock combat patrols.
“This course has proven that every Soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential,” Army Secretary John M. McHugh said. “We owe Soldiers the opportunity to serve successfully in any position where they are qualified and capable, and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best Soldiers to meet our nation’s needs,”
You hear that sound? It’s another crack in the grass ceiling.